McDowell Survives Playoff to Win RBC Heritage

In a battle of former U.S. Open champions, Graeme McDowell two-putted the first sudden-death playoff hole to edge Webb Simpson and win the $5.8 million RBC Heritage at a windswept Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.

McDowell, a 33-year-old Northern Irishman and the 2010 U.S. Open winner at Pebble Beach, closed with a 2-under 69 on a blustery Sunday to end up at 9-under 275 and tied with Simpson. The 27-year-old North Carolinian, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco, posted an even-par 71 to get into the playoff.

McDowell could have won the tournament outright on the 72nd hole, but he three-putted from 44 feet for a bogey to drop from solo first to 9-under.

On the first playoff hole, Harbour Town's iconic 18th with the candy-striped lighthouse in the background, Simpson pushed his approach to the right of the green, while McDowell hit his second 12 feet short. Putting from the fringe and over a small rise, Simpson's birdie try just missed the cup but his ball rolled six feet by.

McDowell's birdie attempt stopped just short and he tapped in for par. Simpson couldn't match that, however, missing his par and giving McDowell his second career victory in the United States.

"I played nicely all week," McDowell said at greenside. "It's a great golf course here. Disappointed for Webb - he hit a great putt (from off the green) but a gust of wind pushed it."

Simpson agreed with McDowell. "I never thought a putt was in more than that one," he told "With a foot to go it was in."

Luke Donald matched McDowell (and Russell Henley) for Sunday's low round of 2-under 69 to take a share of third with Kevin Streelman (72) at 7-under 277 on the Pete Dye course alongside Calibogue Sound.

Jerry Kelly had a nice tournament; the 46-year-old three-time Tour winner carded a 71 to take solo fifth at 278, one shot ahead of Henley, Chris Stroud (70) and third-round leader Charley Hoffman.

Hoffman, who began Sunday two shots ahead of Streelman and Steve LeBrun, was tied for the lead a 9-under until he came to the par-3 14th hole. There, the 36-year-old from San Diego hit a poor tee shot that splashed into a pond right of the green. After taking a penalty drop, Hoffman hit his third short and two-putted for a double-bogey that dropped him out of contention. Two bogeys on the last two holes gave him a 6-over 77 and a disappointing finish.

Tied for ninth at 3-under 281 were Mark Wilson (70), Rory Sabbatini (71), Trevor Immelman (71), Marc Leishman (72), Richard H. Lee (73), Jordan Spieth (73), Billy Horschel (74), Camilo Villegas (74) and Brendon de Jonge (75).

LeBrun carded a 75 to fall into a tie for 18th with K.J. Choi (70), Ken Duke (71), Johnson Wagner (73), Pat Perez (74) and Justin Hicks (75).

For McDowell, a seven-time winner on the European Tour who has taken up residence in Florida and devotes most of his energies to the PGA Tour, the victory was worth $1.026 million and 500 FedEx Cup points. The triumph moved him from 50th in the season-long FedEx Cup standings to sixth.

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